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Busting Some Vitamin B12 Myths

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Vitamin B12 is a critical vitamin for our bodies. Humans need Vitamin B12 for life—one of its major functions is to support normal cell divison. The caveat: For those with certain dietary restrictions, getting enough vitamin B12 through food alone can be tough.

Is there an ideal form of vitamin B12? What should we be looking for on labels?

We prefer methylcobalamin (MeB12). It’s a form of B12 you’d find in our bodies and in foods.

On that note—what foods contain B12?

If you’re a non-vegan, you can get it from animal foods: meats, dairy and eggs. Vegetarians and vegans have a harder time. Nori and dulse seaweeds are some of the only viable sources of B12 for strict vegans, and you'd need to eat a lot. Other algae (like spirulina), seaweeds and certain kinds of mushrooms have pseudo-B12, which isn't quite an ideal form for the human body.*

So if you’re vegetarian or vegan, can it be hard to meet your Daily Value?

If you’re a strict vegan, be aware that it can be difficult to meet your daily B12 needs, unless you’re taking supplements with B12. If you’re just a non-meat eater, then you may have a better chance of getting enough. Food fortification has helped somewhat—some bread and grains, for example, might be vitamin B12-fortified.*

Are there any other populations who need more?

According to the National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements, there are several groups that need to pay attention to getting plenty of B12: older adults, anyone with less stomach acid, and vegan and vegetarians who aren't necessarily consuming many animal products.

Can you get too much?

No—B12 has been shown to be safe even at higher doses. And because vitamin B12 is a water-soluble vitamin, if you ingest excess B12, your body simply does not absorb it.*

If B12 is found in animal foods, where does B12 for vegan supplements come from? How can it be called vegan?

Chemical synthesis is the major source of B12 in any form, and Ritual takes great care to source methylcobalamin under our Made Traceable standards—that is, with a philosophy to do right by our customers (vegan or not) and the planet. In other words, we obsess over the details so you don’t have to.*

Meet our Expert

Dr. Luke Bucci

Dr. Luke Bucci, PhD, CCN, CNS, Research and Technical Fellow

Dr. Luke Bucci received a PhD in Biomedical Sciences from the University of Texas and has over thirty years of experience in the nutrition industry, encompassing all aspects of scientific applications. He has brought blockbuster products to market, written books, patents and numerous articles, and developed certification programs for clinical nutritionists.

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Dr. Luke Bucci

Dr. Luke Bucci, PhD, CCN, CNS, Research and Technical Fellow

Dr. Luke Bucci received a PhD in Biomedical Sciences from the University of Texas and has over thirty years of experience in the nutrition industry, encompassing all aspects of scientific applications. He has brought blockbuster products to market, written books, patents and numerous articles, and developed certification programs for clinical nutritionists.

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Meet the Author

vhoff

Victoria Hoff, Writer

Victoria Hoff is an accomplished writer, journalist, and former wellness editor who has covered a wide variety of health, nutrition, and wellness topics during her tenure. She graduated Magna Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Arts from New York University, and after writing for Vogue, Elle, Byrdie, The/Thirty, and more, channeled her editorial skills into a marketing career.

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vhoff

Victoria Hoff, Writer

Victoria Hoff is an accomplished writer, journalist, and former wellness editor who has covered a wide variety of health, nutrition, and wellness topics during her tenure. She graduated Magna Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Arts from New York University, and after writing for Vogue, Elle, Byrdie, The/Thirty, and more, channeled her editorial skills into a marketing career.

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